Greater Than Anything Money Can Buy

Yael Eckstein  |  November 1, 2022

Close up image of one and five dollar bills.

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
    than a house full of feasting, with strife. —
Proverbs 17:1

Peace, shalom, is a paramount value for both Christians and Jews. Explore this elusive attribute through my devotions and discover what we can learn about adding it to our lives, our relationships, and our world.

I have a friend who made a living out of building custom luxury homes and then selling them. In between the time that the houses were built and sold, my friend and his family would live in them. More than anything, this was a practical decision that saved the family much-needed money.

I once asked his wife if she enjoyed this byproduct of her husband’s business. She said, “You know what? I have lived in simple homes and in luxury homes and this is what I’ve learned: When you close your eyes at night to go to sleep, they are all exactly the same!”

It’s human nature to look at people who live in luxury homes and have all manner of material wealth and just assume that they are happy. Of course, wealth is a great blessing from God and financial hardship can certainly lead to tension.

But far too often we judge human happiness based on outward appearances. And far too often we accustom ourselves and our children to overestimate the value of material possessions. What truly matters is our family relationships and our inner peace of mind and heart.

Greater Than Anything Money Can Buy

King Solomon, the author of Proverbs, was extremely wealthy. So, who better to teach us this important lesson? “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife,” Solomon writes.

This verse actually contains a play on words in the original Hebrew. The word for “dry” is charevah, which also means destroyed or broken. And the word here for “peace” is not the common shalom, but shalva, which refers to inner peace, not necessarily visible to outsiders. King Solomon is teaching us that while our external material life may be broken, we are whole when we are at peace internally.

And a material life that is “full of feasting,” as the verse describes, does not necessarily mean that there is wholeness and peace within our hearts and between our loved ones.

It’s a good reminder that peace of mind is more satisfying than anything that we put in our stomach. Good relationships with our loved ones are far greater than anything that money can buy. Everyone wants to find happiness, but only some will look in the right places.

Your Turn:

Where do you need peace most in your relationships? What one step can you take toward achieving that peace?